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Obtaining a Divorce in Florida - Legal Requirements

Every state has specific legal requirements which must be met before a divorce can be obtained; these requirements vary from one state to another, and Florida has its own criteria for getting a divorce. You may be curious regarding residency requirements, the required waiting period, and other factors that may impact your divorce, such as what "no fault" grounds for divorce include. We will address these issues below.

There are Certain Requirements that Apply to all Divorces in the State of Florida. These Include:

Residency. You must actually live in the state of Florida in order to obtain a divorce, as state family law courts are overwhelmed with cases and desire to minimize the hassle of handling divorce issues for couples who do not reside in the state. Therefore, the spouse who intends to file for divorce must live in Florida for a minimum of six months. Understandably, it can be difficult for the court to finalize a divorce when the property of the spouses getting a divorce is located out of state. This is why you must be a resident of Florida for the required six months before filing for divorce.

Waiting period. Some couples who decide to divorce have a "change of heart," so to speak. Every marriage has its ups and downs, and spouses argue and become frustrated. This is simply part of life and human nature. However, the courts in Florida know that reconciliation is a possibility in many cases, so a waiting period is required to give spouses substantial time to determine a divorce is what they really want. In Florida, a 20 days waiting period is required following the filing of the divorce. This is not that lengthy a time period, especially considering the divorce process can take much longer than 20 days when children, property, or other issues are involved.

No Fault Divorce in Florida

The majority of divorces in Florida are considered no fault, mostly due to the fact that proving a fault-based divorce is much more difficult. In addition, it is rare that there is any benefit in pursuing a fault-based divorce, so spouses who may actually have a claim for fault-based divorce typically choose a no-fault divorce.

To obtain a no-fault divorce, the spouse who files for divorce must demonstrate an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. This simply means the marriage is difficult or impossible to recover. In essence, a couple cannot resolve significant incompatibility issues. You may have heard this referred to as "irreconcilable differences." A no-fault divorce is also frequently pursued when one spouse suffers from a mental incapacity.

For any questions regarding legal requirements for divorce in Florida or further legal guidance, contact our family law attorneys.